The trouble with tariffs instituted out of desperation, ignorance of how the  world works, egoism, and stupidity is that they are… stupid.

As a retail store and e-commerce businessman, I already see the affects of the tariffs that are going to make America great again (it doesn’t even deserve capitalization.) I will let you in on a little secret- it isn’t going to work!

Sales are dropping and will continue to drop as  tariffs begin to affect the supply chain.  Cost increases will be passed on and on and on, until finally you and I will be paying for those 20% tariffs that are going to save America.  Will wages and income increase 20% as well? Highly unlikely.  What will we do? Rework budgets, forego purchases, and try to ride it out.  And what effect will this have on our economy, on the global economy for which we are responsible (yes, we are responsible for it and have been since the end of World War II)?  You figure it out.

Hindsight is 20/20.  If we would have stayed out of NAFTA and GATT to begin with, if we wouldn’t have agreed to so many “free-trade” agreements, we would not be in this mess.  But that is the past.  Today, we are in the thick of it, part of the global mess we have created, for better or for worse.

Big D., if you read this, you cannot make massive changes to an intricately entangled, delicately balanced system and expect the system to adapt in the blink of an eye. Or even over the course of years. A small storm becomes a typhoon easily enough. Typhoons destroy. A big enough typhoon will destroy everything.

Short-sighted, reactionary, and isolationist responses to world-wide economic issues will do nothing but harm to our economy, and by default, to the economies of much of the world.  It will increase the power of dictators such as Putin, and cause countries that are barely holding on to move backwards. The acceptance and support of populist movements in Europe is just the beginning. A return to the nationalism and fascism that lead us into war are next.


There was a time when children had economic value. If viewed from a purely economic perspective, from the cost/benefit perspective, that is certainly not the case today. At least not for most people- there are of course welfare recipients whose business it is to procreate. The more children, the more money comes in the form of welfare entitlements. But that is not my direction here, deconstructing the welfare system, or the state of humanity.

If prospective parents sat down and discussed the potential economic benefits and economic burdens attached to procreation before having children, I think many would opt out of the process. If a spreadsheet was used, or a budget was prepared, or a “business plan” was written, if due diligence was done, the economic burden would surpass the benefits, not to mention the income, of many Americans. Okay, some people do plan well enough for their children. And some, I am sure, do opt out of the process for economic, as well as other reasons- I actually know a number of people who have. Unfortunately many of these people are the kind of parents kids need- logical, caring, practical, and educated. Still, too often logic is overridden by emotion and animal instinct, not to mention marketing.

Throughout history parents have had flocks of children purely as an economic endeavor- the more children you had, the more that were likely to survive and thus help provide for the family. It was about cost/benefits. And it was human instinct- animal instinct, at work. There were 40,000 years of human evolution behind the process, not to mention millions upon millions of years of pre-modern human instinct to back it up. Yes, it is true- humans are not different than so many animals- having large litters of offspring is an adaptive response intended to enhance the perpetuation  of a species. Of course with most animals there are checks and balances in the form of population pressures- the physical environment, availability of food, climate, and disease to name a few. These limit the number of animals in the species, the viability of offspring, and in all cases on a long enough timeline, the species itself. It is, or was, a self-correcting system.

This premise can be applied to other systems at work in our society as well- say religion. Various religions tell people to “be fruitful” and so forth. The idea here is the same animal instinct institutionalised. The more offspring members have, the more power that religion will eventually have.

Following these ides then, natural selection has been undermined by technology and marketing, religion, and our world today, by entitlements. What was once a necessity has now become about economics, which translates into power. The continuation of a vicious cycle is at play here, still institutionalised. But instead of a church, or a militaristic state, or the needs of an extended family promoting procreation and perpetuation of the lineage, now it is about the perpetuation of our economic system. The more mouths to feed, the more iPhones will eventually be sold. The more babies there are, the more consumers in the future. The more humans, the more money can be made by the few who make most of it. It is neo-feudalism, where the general population, the vassals, are paid a pittance, but kept happy through beer, drugs, and television. And unfortunately the more the population grows, the more limited the resources become.The more we “need”, the shorter our timeline becomes.

What was once adaptive, a response that insured our survival as a species, has now become detrimental to our very survival.

As someone who comes from one of the most immoral states in the country, that would be a western state starting with “N” and ending with “a” (no offense to my family and friends in the Silver State), I feel obligated to mention my recent thoughts on the long-term visions of the state of Colorado. Having lived in Colorado for over 20 years now, I have seen the legalisation, and therefore legitimisation, of gambling, Sunday liquor sales, and now marijuana. Of course the underlying reason for their “acceptance” by us, the citizens, as fed to us by the state, is purely economic- all of these are revenue-generating enterprises. By revenue-generating I mean tax-generating, which makes the state happy.

My question is, where does it end? Colorado was the first to “legalise” marijuana, and for that we are on the cutting edge of society. Who knows where this might take us? What other unquestionably dubious and parasitic enterprises might the state undertake? One comes to mind for me, being from the state where it is already legal- prostitution. Come on Colorado, let’s get on board! If we are going to be loose, immoral, promote deviance, and further degrade the already tenuous lives of more American people in the name of economic progress, let’s add prostitution to the list!


There has been a lot of talk in the news lately about saving the Earth- about global warming, overpopulation, pollution, disease, war, etc. and so on. I guess it’s been in the news for a while now- 10, 20, 30 years? I have heard something about sustainability,  about being green, about carbon and carbon taxes, global warming, melting ice caps and rising sea levels, conservation of natural resources, or some such topic every single time I have turned on the radio for as long as I can remember. Granted, I listen mostly to NPR, so what else would I expect to hear? But now for the big question: has anything been done about it?  And the even bigger question: does anyone really care?

I see both answers as no- nothing has been done, nobody cares. It’s all just a bunch of b.s. All the recycling, conserving, green building, Prius driving, peace marching, and caring about the poor people of undeveloped countries amounts to nothing more than a balm for the small, meaningless lives we have come to lead in our techno-industrial (or is that post-techno-industrial?) world. All the effort we have put into saving the planet has in fact done very little, if anything, in the way of actually creating any formidable amount of long-lasting change.

It makes us feel good  to heed the call of Sally Struthers and “adopt” the poor Biafran child we see in the ad queuing up for a bowlful of millet. But we quickly lose interest and move on to the next cause once the warm feeling wears off. Sally gets her Twinkies but the kid is still hungry in the end, or worse, gets blown away in a bush war after being drugged and sent on patrol with an AK47 longer than he is tall. And that probably ultimately over oil or gold to feed the West’s need for both.

You feel good after writing the check to Greenpeace or the Sea Shepherds (okay, they may be doing some good- the tack they have taken has put them about a hair’s breadth from inflicting physical violence, which is the only way their “war” is going to be won) or Environment Colorado (I wish they would stop knocking on my door- the sign says “No Soliciting!”), but by the time you close the door you realise you’ve just been coerced into giving money to yet another PAC, and you have no idea what they really do with it.

Should I even mention China? One fact- everyone in the US could stop driving tomorrow, saving oil, pollution, carbon, etc.,  and the Chinese will make up for that in the next ten years. Think about it. Not everyone in the world understands the level of destruction we have reached. And most of the world will never care, or will never have the means to do anything to stop the destruction.

An article (editorial) in the Wall Street Journal this weekend addresses this dichotomy well, it discusses what we think we are doing, and what we are actually accomplishing. The conclusion, as I read it, is that we are probably doing more bad than good. The money we give, the money that non-profits spend, that governments donate, the countless people who have devoted their lives to the cause, seems to be all for naught. People continue to suffer and die, forests continue to be burned down, open-pit mines continue to go deeper, pollution continues to get worse, and wars continue to be fought.

And the Earth will  be destroyed in the end.

The Earth will be destroyed? Wait a minute. How will the Earth be destroyed? I think we miss-read the facts. Who gave us those facts?!

The Earth will not be destroyed! We are not destroying the Earth! Get it straight!  We are destroying the Earth’s ability to sustain us. That is what we are doing. The Earth will not “die”. Its ability to sustain us at our present and growing levels of population/consumption will undoubtedly decline, and possibly reach a level where our species will die out sooner than our expected one million year life span. That is all that will happen. We will die; the Earth will live on. In the blink of an eye in geologic time the Earth will shake us off- a couple of glaciations, some volcanism, subduction, an orogeny or two, and viola! Nice clean Earth. No more humans. Maybe next time the prairie dogs will be at the top of the phylogenetic tree. They’ll probably do a better job with it than we have done; they are smart little guys building up their vocabulary as ours weakens. (If the part about the planet surviving is not perfectly clear, see George Carlin’s thoughts on the subject- “The planet is fine”- thanks R-.)

There may be a way out of this mess though, maybe a couple of ways, depending on your perspective. I personally have begun designing my underground, graboid-proof compound I will build in the Utah desert, looking for that pair of leather pants that will last a lifetime, and searching for that perfect, shotgun wielding blue healer. That is my way out- fighting, and having fun with it. For the rest of you, I suggest a hearty drought of  specially blended purple Koolaid from your Big Gulp as you sit in front of your t.v. watching the big game. Think about it; if you choose the latter, you might actually help sustain lives, such as my own and those of my gathering tribe, a little longer. For that we’d be grateful, and I am sure the Earth would thank you as well.

Oh well. Viewed another eviction in our neighborhood today.  As I walked down their alley with my son Nicolai, as we looked at all the kids toys, furniture, clothes, and art projects discarded and waiting for trash day, I couldn’t help but wonder how their children were affected. Not that I ever met them or their children.

Next we walked down the sidewalk in front of their house, what was their house.  There were piles of stuff, three big POD storage containers on the street, filled I assume, and enough stuff to fill 6 more? 8 more? Stuff.  Kids stuff, family stuff, stuff.  I wondered about the kids again.  How did this affect them?  I began to feel sorry for them, for the family and the kids.  Then I realised that this kind of thing can be avoided, that people are usually given chance after chance to get themselves out of messes like this before they actually get this far.  I realised that I have attempted to help people out of these situations on numerous occasions, tried to help them from running their lives further into the gutter.  And each time it came back to me in a bad way.

As a landlord I am responsible for my properties, but I also try to be socially responsible.  I haven’t thrown anyone out, yet.  I have always tried to help my tenants out, and every single time I have found myself on the bad end of the deal. That is EVERY time.

I looked at the piles of stuff again- there was a lot of it.  More stuff than I have, more stuff than anyone needs.  (Yes, that IS my opinion. Someone needs to have one.) These people spent money.  I noticed the satellite dish on the roof of the house that had just be secured by the Boulder County Sheriff. Why is it that the internet and cable are the last things to go when people are strapped for cash? The cable bill is paid, but the rent is not. The cell phone is kept on, but the power bill is late. The internet is functioning, but the water gets turned off.

I am at my end; I cannot offer my help to tenants again.  My sympathy has been used up, there is no more.

I have only this to say: molesta veritas.  The truth can be burdensome.  Face the truth, and deal with it.

I received an email from this morning informing me that my account had been terminated due to the greed, lack of foresight, and, well, stupidity of the legislature of Colorado. No other state has such legislation. Its seems that the state wants to tax online sales, and Amazon will have no part of it. So they just shut off all accounts in the entire state! I guess they can do that, they are Amazon after all. (If in the future all restaurants will be Taco Bell, then all retail stores will be Amazon. This is a movie reference, citizen.)

So, I just wrote to my state representatives, and the governor, expressing my discontent with this legislation. (I did not use the word “discontent” as I am not sure if that is legal any longer. See text of Patriot Act.)

The process was not without glitches. The online form to “communicate” with the governor did not have a box for text. You could communicate, but only your contact information. Comments were not allowed.

After sending my first request with nothing more than that, I returned to find a box labeled “explanation” which I concluded must be the “comment” box.

In my comments (“explanation”), I outlined the illogical nature of the title of the box and suggested that a box for comments be labeled “comments” in my next email to the governor.

Now that I think about it, I may have forgotten to include my original comments, being so focused on the “comment” issue.

How does that text messaging abbreviation go? Oh yeah, WTF?

It’s not a conspiracy theory, it’s a conspiracy fact. Either that or we are truly surrounded, and governed, by idiots.

Babylon must fall.